Aberystwyth University student
March 15 2016
Case study portraits for National Autistic Society
Ben’s case study
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt how to suppress my emotions and keep my meltdowns to myself. But, I remember having meltdowns in public when I was younger, often at school or out with my family. At school, I would be laughed at and called names, which often made the situation much worse and keep going until I was escorted out of the room. In public, people have simply stopped and stared or given dirty looks to people with me, often my mum or my dad. At the time of my meltdown, I wouldn’t notice or care but, afterwards, when I realised what had happened, I always felt ashamed of what I had done and how I had behaved.
Even now, at university, I’m worried about how people would act if I was to have a meltdown in public. So I try to avoid those situations where it might happen and frequently miss parties, social events and even seminars. For example, last week I forgot to do the reading for a seminar and became so worried about being asked something which I couldn’t answer, that I didn’t go to the seminar. That kind of pressure can trigger panics and meltdowns and I just can’t put myself in that position.
Like many people on the spectrum, I often flex my hands and twirl them as a form of stimming, particularly if I’m feeling anxious. It makes me feel more in control, but people often find it odd and comment on it, referring to it as “gay hands” as it looks like I'm making flamboyant gestures. I know they’re just joking, but I find this very offensive and it means I keep my hands in my pockets when walking.
- ©keith morris 2016 firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Contained in galleries
- Public relations photography: Autism Society case study